Copy and Paste is Bad

I actually considered becoming a journalist.

Or, more accurately, I considered majoring in journalism in college. Working as an editor for my high school yearbook was a kick-ass job – the endless bagel runs, the pranks, the drama, even the weekend late-nighters. Perhaps that’s what drew me to journalism school. Nevertheless, I chose business management as my major (sigh) and went to law school (sigh). I am not saying I have regrets, for I like to consider myself as forward-thinking, not past-fretting. But after of four years of management courses, three years of law school, and a tiny bit of experience in the real legal world, I guess I have sort of a crush on journalists and writers. I envy the ability and luxury to create free-flowing works with words, with an ever-abundance of topics and themes at their disposal. Words are powerful, and journalists and writers wield those words.

Then I come across something like this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/business/media/journalists-plagiarism-jonah-lehrer-fareed-zakaria.html?_r=1&src=dayp

David Carr states it beautifully. “It may not have made a difference: journalists are tasked as seekers of truth. Fabulists find the truth quotidian and boring, insufficient to convey them to the renown they seek.”

There is a fine line between lying and colorful reporting. Plagiarism and journalism should not be mentioned in the same sentence. Come on! As Carr points out, social media heat and blog traction have been launch pads to journalistic fame and glory. But let journalism be journalism – seek the truth, and when you find it, tell it as is. The so-called “fabulists” would be the end of journalism as we know it. It’s reminiscent of all the celebrity chef havoc that has ballooned the current Food Network empire and has watered down cuisine to delis and barbeque (not that there’s anything wrong with delis and barbeque). And cupcakes (Cup Cake Wars, are you kidding).

Journalists and columnists are the brethren of a beautiful profession. Don’t ruin it for your own fame and glory. And don’t copy and paste.

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2 comments
  1. Stacy said:

    I always wanted to major in a field involving creative writing too…but I’m glad I ended up with a business degree. Ironically, the real life of the average journalist is probably pretty mundane. Also, more often than not, the best way to ruin a passion is to do it for a living.

    People don’t love to work – they work to do what they love. 🙂

    • Agreed, but my point was not that I wanted to become a journalist, but that journalism, and writing as a whole, should remain raw, real and untainted, without plagiarism, etc.

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